Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Governor Steve Sisolak announced Thursday that many businesses around the state can begin reopening Saturday under Phase I restrictions under his “Roadmap to Recovery” plan.
The restrictions include retail businesses limiting capacity to 50 percent of what is allowed under fire code, strict social distancing guidelines as well as specific requirements for businesses like restaurants and salons.
Sisolak announce the openings in a press conference Saturday, saying the state is on track with its reopening criteria. Although last week Sisolak asked counties to respond to a survey detailing their preparedness to reopen businesses, he said Thursday that counties may be more restrictive in their requirements under Phase I, but no less restrictive.
“I am able to move up this announcement because, as a State, we have met our gateway benchmarks for starting our reopening that I laid out two weeks ago, and that are included in our Roadmap to Recovery,” Sisolak said.
The governor said the state’s cumulative test positivity rate reached 12.2 percent on April 24 and has since decreased to 11.2 percent as of yesterday. He also said the state has seen an overall decreasing trend in hospitalizations since April 21.
However, while many counties have numbers far below that positivity rate, Sisolak said he was not in favor of allowing individual counties to open while others remain closed, because he doesn’t want people traveling one county to another to do business, and bringing the disease with them.
Thursday morning, the Lyon County Commission declined to take action on its own recovery plan, noting that Sisolak was planning to speak later in the day.
“By 5 p.m. today we’ll have written and verbal notification of what the governor is going to do,” Lyon County manager Jeff Page told the Commission. Page also noted that although the governor had asked the counties to submit their recovery plans, the counties do not have the authority, as political subdivisions of the State of Nevada, to act on their own in conflict with state directives.
The Commission set a meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 13, the soonest they can meet because of Open Meeting Law agenda notification requirements.
Under Sisolak’s announcement Thursday, restaurants may reopen and are still encouraged to offer curbside and delivery service, but can now open for dine-in service. They must require employees to wear face coverings and encourage customers to wear them as well. In-person dining is limited to no more than 50 percent of available seating capacity. Reservations should be required, tables or booths must be spaced six feet apart, and bar tops or bar areas within restaurants remain closed. Patrons waiting to be seated must wait outside.
Sisolak also said casino restaurants must remain closed.
Barber shops, hair salons and nail salons may open, but partitions or walls between each work station are strongly encouraged. If not, they may only use every other chair or ensure they are six feet apart. Services may be provided through appointment only and no walk-ins are allowed. Face coverings are required.
Retail businesses shall also limit the number of customers in their facility to no more than 50 percent of the occupancy based on the fire code.
Cannabis dispensaries may conduct in-store sales after submitting a plan and receiving approval from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
All employers and businesses shall require employees who interact with the public to wear face coverings.
Although businesses will be open, Sisolak said people are encouraged to stay at home except for essential activities and members of vulnerable populations must continue to shelter in place.
Businesses that will not be able to reopen during Phase I include nightclubs and taverns that aren’t currently open and don’t have a license to serve food, gyms and fitness facilities, strip clubs and brothels, spas, tanning salons tattoo and body piercing businesses, bowling alleys, movie theaters except drive ins, sporting event venues, arcades and recreational and community centers.
Sisolak said he will be continually assessing data regarding COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations to determine when the next phase of the reopening may begin, or alternatively, whether openings in Phase I will be scaled back.
“If we want to stay open, it’s up to us to continue the aggressive social distancing measures that allowed us to progress to this point,” he said. “We must have more patience, so we have few patients. And if we can continue to stay safe, we can stay open.”